Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Does Paramount's iPhone Games Strategy Make Dollars & Sense? observes today that iPhone games based on Paramount movie titles are doing particularly well on the iTunes App Store UK paid App charts, with 2 titles currently in the Top 20. One key factor seems to be the bargain price point of £0.59 ($0.99). The same is true in the US and in addition to the titles that PocketGamer mentions, "Shooter - The Official Movie Game" (developed with Artificial Life & currently #5 in US) and "Iron Man: Aerial Assault" (currently #85 in US), Paramount is also doing extremely well with the library title "Days of Thunder!" (developed with Freeverse & currently #30 in US). "Days of Thunder!" is currently an App Store WHAT'S HOT title, loitered in the Top 10 all last week and is receiving solid reviews from the major gaming sites. This title was originally priced at $0.99 and increased to $2.99 this week (accounting for it's move out of Top 10)...which is actually a retreat from the original plan (according to IGN) to take it to $4.99 on February 8th. I have mixed feelings about the success of these titles. On one hand I'm glad to see that there is clearly an audience for quality movie based mobile games and I think this should help elevate industry perception of the genre (or at least of some titles from some studios). On the other hand I think Paramount's aggressive pricing strategy is contributing to the price erosion in the iPhone channel. Unfortunately we're seeing the price floor and ceiling of viable Apps converging at the floor, and I believe it's going to become increasingly difficult for publishers to successfully launch iPhone games at any price greater than $0.99.

1 comment:

  1. I'm fairly certain that their decision to price those games accordingly is a direct result of the awful market that is the App Store.

    The last time I saw a game at the top of the charts over a dollar was iShoot, after it was ruling the charts for weeks. Right now, all the top ten apps are 99 cents with the exception of Touchgrind. Apple's model of "more units sold = higher ranking" is the crux of the price erosion. Is Paramount adding to it? Maybe... Those titles certainly set the bar higher for what kind of game people will expect for a dollar in the future.

    There is a high level of production value and cost that goes into a lot of their games, and I think that they are just trying to figure out how to turn a profit on them.

    But those are all just conjectures. I would expect all of the launch prices to rise eventually (Iron Man may be permanently at 99 cents though since it is older).